HMS History


Harvard Medical
School History


Harvard Medical School (HMS) was founded in 1782.  While it admitted its first Black students in 1850, these initial three students were not permitted to graduate, owing largely to the protests of some of their fellow students.  HMS graduated its first Black students in 1869, and in 1893 the Lewis and Harriet Hayden Scholarship for Colored Students was established, for “needy and worthy colored students in the Harvard Medical School.”  Nevertheless, prior to 1968, only 62 Black students had graduated from the school.  That year, in the aftermath of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, dedicated faculty and students worked with Dean Robert Ebert to initiate an affirmative action program at HMS.  Since then, over 1,350 under-represented students have graduated from HMS.